Date: Mon Oct 31 1994 19:15:00
From: Randy M.
Subj: Study calls SRA imagination
SURVEY QUESTIONS PREVALENCE
OF RITUALISTIC SATANIC ABUSE
ASSOCIATED PRESS, OCTOBER 30, 1994
Tales of satanic ritual abuse, with well-organized cults sacrificing
animals and babies and engaging in sexual perversion and cannibalism,
is the stuff of tabloid television.
Now, the first empirical study of its actual prevalence, based on
information from district attorneys, social service workers, police
officials and psychotherapists, suggests these tales are usually just
that -- figments of imagination.
Although the survey found occasional cases of lone abusers who used
ritualistic trappings, it found no substantiated reports of well-
organized satanic rings of people who sexually abuse children.
In a survey of more than 11,000 psychiatric and police workers
throughout the country, conducted for the National Center on Abuse and
Neglect, researchers found more than 12,000 accusations of group cult
sexual abuse based on satanic ritual, but not one that investigators
had been able to substantiate. The organizers of the survey say it is
the first authoritative national survey on the subject.
Accusations of molesting by cults have been made in thousands of cases
over the last decade, and in retrospective claims by adult patients in
psychotherapy who say they were abused as children.
Combined with sensationalistic press coverage, these lawsuits and
other reports have led many people to believe that there is a
nationwide network of satanic groups preying on the young.
"After scouring the country, we found no evidence for large-scale
cults that sexually abuse children," said Dr. Gail Goodman, a
psychologist at the University of California at Davis, who directed
"Since the McMartin preschool case, there have been claims of
ritualistic and sadistic child abuse in cases all over the country,
and we've been concerned," said David Lloyd, director of the National
Center on Child Abuse and Neglect. "The survey was to see just how
well-founded these concerns are -- if these are just based on mistaken
perceptions or there is some firm evidence."
The survey included 6,910 psychiatrists, psychologists and clinical
social workers, and 4,655 district attorneys, police departments, and
social service agencies. They reported 12,264 accusations of ritual
abuse that they had investigated.
The survey found that there was not a single case among them where
there was clear corroborating evidence for the most common accusation,
that there was "a well-organized intergenerational satanic cult, who
sexually molested and tortured children in their homes or schools for
years and committed a series of murders," said Goodman.
But Dr. Goodman said her group did find "convincing evidence of lone
perpetrators or couples who say there are involved with Satan or use
the claim to intimidate victims." She added that they "unearthed a
few cases where there were confessions or photographs."
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